Seen any hams on ‘new media’ lately?

If you’re into podcasts, you know that among the half-billion or so out there – everyone on the planet has one, and most of us have two, kind of like repeaters – there are dozens or more that are part of networks devoted more or less to technology and “geek culture” (computers, phones, Internet, games). TWiT, Revison3, Frogpants, Geek’s Life, GFQ, TechCrunch, the Verge are a few names that come to mind quickly, but the list goes on and on. I only consume a few, though I hear the hosts and guests talk about many more that I haven’t made time for.

What I never hear is any mention of ham radio.

The only references I ever hear outside of our own shows are a few by Leo Laporte outside of Ham Nation, and Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak on No Agenda (both are hams). Otherwise, at least in the shows I listen to, we don’t exist.

We hams are geeks too, and proud of it, no?

Ah, but we’re mostly old geeks. The people – hosts, guests and audience – on these shows are the 20 and 30-somethings we keep saying we need in ham radio (and that’s why you’ve never heard of these shows!). They are interested in technology. Some of them would be interested in some aspects of ham radio, if they knew we existed. I think many others would at least be interested in hearing about us, the way we’re interested in hearing about other things even if we’ll probably never do them ourselves.

So would it help to get some ham visibility on these shows? I know we’ve got lots of our own shows, but they barely touch the general ‘tech’ audience.

And if we got some hams on those shows, what would they talk about? DX on 20? Mesh? And who would they be? Me? I’m 65. Bob Heil? He’s in his 70’s. We’re cool and all, and they’d be polite to us, but would they relate? I don’t think so.

And while you think about that, here’s HamRadioNow Episode 211: Adventures of a Hacker Turned Ham. (The video is at the bottom of this story. The link will take you to the HamRadioNow web page – same video, more links.)

It’s Michael Ossmann’s story, as he told it at the TAPR/AMSAT banquet last may in conjunction with the Dayton Hamvention®. Michael invented the HackRF SDR board, which got him noticed by TAPR, which reintroduced him to ham radio, and he’s now ADØNR. Embedded in Mike’s story is the theme where is the next generation of hams coming from, which kind of ties into my topic above.

Also at the banquet, AMSAT slipped in a short presentation about an upcoming geosynchronous satellite with an amateur radio transponder. Big news… for the Middle East, Europe, Africa and western Asia, as the satellite is owned by the Qatar Satellite Company, and it’s main mission is TV and communications for the Middle East. The ham transponder will have as wide a footprint as possible, but it can’t see North America, Japan, coastal China, Australia, and all but a little peek at South America. OK, so American hams can’t play, but we’re excited for hams on the other side of the globe, and it’s a foot in the door of the geosync satellite community. Oh, and it’s going to be 2.4 GHz up, 10 GHz down, so expect that to spur some radio development.

And I lead off with a pitch for the KICKSTARTER I’m running to fund me making video of the ARRL/TAPR DCC in Chicago this October. It was successful in 2013 and 2014, and it’s chugging along, with a deadline of July 31, and a goal of $10,000. That makes about 20 programs covering all the main sessions of the conference. I’m especially looking for support from small ham businesses that can afford a $500 ‘corporate underwriter’ pledge to get their name and product or service before the TAPR audience. Details in the KICKSTARTER.

And if you don’t have time to sit and watch (hey, this is already TLDR), you can subscribe to the HamRadioNow audio podcast (just an audio rip from our videos, but many of them make good ‘radio’ shows). You’ll have to manually enter the RSS address in your podcast app:
http://HamRadioNow.tv/hrnrss.xml

Once you’ve done that, you can subscribe and get the new shows as they’re produced, usually before they’re on YouTube or announced anywhere else (audio is so easy… why do I do video?).

73, Gary KN4AQ

Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, is the host of HamRadioNow.tv. If you enjoy this and other HamRadioNow programs, help keep them 'on the air' with a contribution. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Seen any hams on ‘new media’ lately?”

  • We all need to be better marketers of the hobby. If we want to be part of the “tech crowd” and the Maker crowd (and we should be) we need to do a better job of hanging out where they hang out.

    Something as simple as clubs posting meeting times on meetup.com would go a long way. (All the local tech meet-ups are posted there, and once you sign-up, meetup.com starts suggesting other groups. Free advertising.) Attending local Maker Faires and other tech related meet-ups would also go a long way.

    It’s about getting in front of the right people. The rest will happen naturally.

  • David WB4ONA:

    Much (if not most) of this Internet “Social Media” content is all about people just wantinhg to see & hear themselves… But when it comes to science and technology topics, there are some quality exceptions to this rule out there.

    Keep in-mind: 1. The technical nature of amature radio puts people off (“Nerds” are socially shunned in today’s America), 2. A relatively small audience size, and 3. The difficult and time-consuming work that goes into producing “quality” video/audio content (i.e., something that is not outright “painful” to watch and/or listen to). So don’t be so quick to jump on your high-horse just yet, and ask why we don’t see more Ham “podcasts”. Best 73’s, David

  • KN4AQ Gary:

    David, did you 1.watch my show (any of them)? Because maybe I know what I’m talking about (or maybe you find me one of those hams who are ‘painful to watch’). And 2. Read what I wrote. Because I wasn’t complaining about the lack of good ham radio podcasts (this time… I actually have made that point in the past). This time I’m talking about the lack of hams on the OTHER tech-oriented podcasts. C’mon, if an article is TLDR to read, maybe it’s TLDR to comment on. Your reply reads like you had a very different article in your head than the one I wrote, and decided to comment on it.

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